The University of Notre Dame has earned a gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Scoring a 68.52 through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), Notre Dame improved its sustainability score by 17.25 points over three years.
Previously achieving a silver rating in 2011, this year’s gold rating places Notre Dame among the top 13 percent of more than 300 reporting institutions across the world and the highest rated of the nine participating schools in Indiana.
“Our achievement of a STARS gold rating is a result of a campus-wide commitment to sustainability. This recognition supports our ongoing efforts over the last few years and reinforces our continued commitment to sustainability,” said John Affleck-Graves, executive vice president.
STARS, a nationally recognized sustainability benchmarking tool, takes into account achievements across the areas of operations, academics and engagement as well as planning and administration. Utilizing data from departments across the university including Food Services, Utilities, Research and Human Resources, the rating represents a campus-wide commitment to the goals set out in Notre Dame’s Sustainability Strategy.
Major contributors to this year’s upgrade include an increase in the number of departments conducting sustainability-focused research, an increase in the quality and quantity of sustainable building design and construction, and a reduction in the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced across campus.
The report is compiled every three years by Notre Dame’s Office of Sustainability. The office works throughout the University to reduce emissions, conserve resources and increase awareness of sustainability. Since its creation in 2008, the office has doubled the University’s recycling rate to 43 percent, decreased the carbon footprint by 37 percent and worked throughout the University to fully certify three divisions and 27 offices as Green Offices.